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Your search for the tag 'wilson' yielded 36 results

  • 1

    Interview: Mar 4th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    The good news is that there has been no change since we last communicated guys. Harriet and RJ had to fight like hell to keep it there, but that goes with the territory these days.

    He told you that he'd be visiting the Mayo on every 90 days and that last month's visit was the first of those. Things don't always go according to plan when you're in a fight, you have to shift and adapt to the situation. Their visit last month lasted longer than expected. The medication regimen had to be changed due to some pretty nasty side affects. Testing required that RJ come off his blood thinner, the steroid and the miracle drug, revlimid. After months on this experimental drug got him into a near "normal" range, he was being pulled off for at least 30 days. We held our breath. The grand news is that the Lambda Light Chain number that was 2.7 a month ago was tested at on 2.74. FREAKING AMAZING! The polyps and the "mass" he described before are also gone. We joked that when they denied him food for over a day in preparation for further testing that his body looked for nourishment and there sat the aforementioned mass looking, well, pretty damned appetizing. Gone. So, back on the Revlimid. Pray that the numbers continue downward, that his body continues the slow march of shedding the beta amyloid deposits and that he regains his strength.

    RJ had me laughing to the point of pain yesterday. You'll recall his wish list included sky diving and that I promised you I wouldn't let him throw himself from a perfectly good airplane. Seems he had a DREAM the other night that I'd gotten my way and we were at Lake Tahoe skiing. As he was negotiating the ski slope he was hit by a hot dogging snow mobile driver and had his leg broken in the collision. As they were hauling him off to be fixed up, he was shouting at me "you wouldn't let me sky dive because it was too dangerous, brought me skiing instead and now look what happened." Maybe I'll rethink the parachuting, not.

    Long road ahead of us gang. I've looked but can find no one of the yellow available. Recovery will take a lot of time. I've asked before, now I beg, patience please. NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

    Peace be upon you all.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

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  • 2

    Interview: Apr 9th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    Well a bit rocky, but not too.

    Janet, my ever-youthful bride of 32 years and I spent the weekend with RJ and Harriet in Charleston. They are both as fine as anyone could be in the middle of such an ordeal.

    The weakness persists, an unwanted side affect of the medications. Claims that he could sleep 22 hours a day if Harriet were to allow it. She won't. You'll recall that we've both spoken cryptically of the nasty side affects of the drugs required to fight Amyloidosis. Prolonged exposure to both the Revlimid and Dexamethasone have left his skin thinned and fragile. As a result, he bruises and cuts pretty easily these days, so we passed on the opportunity to wrestle in the side yard. The cuts that are there are attended to daily by the best warder a person could wish for, Harriet. His hair is back in spades however, as is the beard. Not a gray strand on top, not one. The Lambda light chain number was up ever so slightly this month. No one, not even the Mayo, is concerned about that. Most likely this was due to the month of February being off the Revlimid and that in March they had cut the dosage by 40%. Besides, he told me he had an angel looking out for him. Really!

    Though I've known him, well, all my life, he still hits me with a tidbit from time to time that I have either forgotten or never knew. Here's one of those. When he was 2 to 3 years old, seems he would on occasion dart out into the street in front of their home. Looking for traffic was out of the question. Adults would scamper after him and tell him that he had to stay out of the street or a car would hit him. He told them not to worry, that he had an angel who looked out for him and wouldn't let him be harmed. I asked him how he knew about the angel and he said he could sense that he was there. RJ somehow felt that the angel was a he even though angels are most often described as being without sexual definition. RJ even felt that were he to spin quickly around he would catch a fleeting glimpse of his angel as he vaporized to be unseen. RJ is feeling like, if not looking a bit like; one of those cars may have tagged him just a bit. But he knows that he has his angel looking out for him. I wonder if it's the same angel from his early youth. Hope so.

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  • 3

    Interview: Apr 9th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    For Major Jim. First, thank you for your service. A correction however, RJ flew IN helicopters, he wasn't the pilot. Volunteered he did, to be a door gunner on a huey. Freaking insane. Imagine if you can a rather large 19 year old tethered to the chopper, standing outside on the skid, laying suppressing machine gun fire on the landing zone in front of and below the helicopter. On one occasion, one of the times he knew he would be dead in seconds, an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) was fired at their ship as they were slowing to land. The business end of the grenade is smaller than a football and travels at blinding speed. RJ saw it approaching and knew they were all dead. The only thing he could do to defend his crew was to fire his machine gun at the rapidly approaching object. What are the chances of hitting it? With the luck of Ganesh, his bullets found the target and it exploded, close enough that shrapnel rained on the helicopter.

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  • 4

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Rion, any convention that wants my attendance should go through my publisher, Tor Books. I have to tell you, though, that at the moment I'm really not up to attending cons, not even cons that are very close to where I live. I hope that maybe by next year that will change. Right now, getting out to a restaurant is a big expedition, and we don't do it very often. I was recently accepted for membership in the Carolina Yacht Club, and took Wilson and Janet to brunch. Sounds like a small thing, but it was enough to exhaust me. So until I manage to regain some strength, cons probably aren't in the cards for me.

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  • 5

    Interview: Sep 9th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    During Dragon Con in Atlanta last week rumors flew about that my brother/cousin was gravely ill, wasn't eating and had in fact had "Last Rites" administered. I just got off the telephone with him and he's surrounded by laughing friends and relatives and is about to enjoy a shrimp-based bowl of gumbo. He got a chuckle out of news of his impending departure.

    Go back and reread RJ's blog entries and you'll know exactly what is going on. Armed with those medical facts, if any of you have shared time with very ill relatives you'll know what person looked like and felt like during the ordeal. RJ looks and feels just like that. So, we're not taking any family photos at the moment.

    Fact: He is ill, very ill. He has shared that with you in medical jargon. He has told you the prognosis of his physicians and told you that he plans to beat their predictions. I pray that he will. But should it not be in the cards, he'll manage that phase of his life as he has every step he has taken thus far. So, should you hear another "rumor" it's just that. Until you hear it from RJ, Harriet or from me, it's just a rumor.

    Fact: He's told you that his appetite comes and goes. It does. He's taking a handful of medications everyday to help him in the fight. Unfortunately some of them have adverse affects on the appetite. Pretty much like a kid in that regard right now. He eats when he feels up to it, and says "No Thanks!" when he doesn't. When I visited a couple of weeks back he had a hankering for Cream of Mushroom soup served with rice and a dash of tabasco. RJ and Harriet were busy in the parlor, so I whipped up the soup. He told me it was good, but not as good as when Harriet prepares it. Duh!?!?

    Fact: The deacon from his church visits their home for weekly worship services and to bring communion. RJ doesn't feel up to sitting on two hundred year old wooden pews for an hour. Painful even for someone in the peak of health, which you know RJ is not. These visits are to share communion, which is a weekly (at least) part of RJ and Harriet's lives. Same goes for Janet and me. When RJ is physically stronger, he'll be back on the hard pews. I hope that whatever your faith that you are able to "Commune" with God often.

    Bottom line guys, he's been completely forthcoming with you from the very beginning of this ordeal. He intends to continue that dialog. When he and I spoke a few minutes ago, I asked if he wanted to end this rumor or for me to do it? I then reminded him that the last time he wrote you he was feeling as he put it "a bit viperish" and that his posting had kicked over a huge ant hill. He allowed that perhaps I should write you guys this time. Calmer heads and all.

    Keep the prayer lines open please. He's a stubborn old cuss but welcomes, appreciates, yes even needs your collective petitions to our God. I'll be seeing RJ and Harriet in a week and will give them a hug and an "I Love You" from each and every one of you.

    Thanks for caring.

    Peace be with each of you,

    Wilson Brother/Cousin 4th of 3

    Epilog: Yes he is continuing to work through all of this medical calamity. A Memory of Light is going into the word processor and onto audio tapes almost daily. Not every day mind you, because the medical fight takes first priority. But, he told you he'd finish and he will. Fact is that it has been finished in his head for years. During a recent family sit around, he became the Gleeman and told the bones of it ALL to Harriet and me. You read that right, I did say ALL. Don't ask, ain't telling. Two and a half hours of story telling by the Creator himself went by in the twinkling of an eye. Truly magical. All I can say is WOW! Best stuff he's ever done. A Memory of Light is going to knock your socks off! That's a promise.

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  • 6

    Interview: Sep 16th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    It is with great sadness that I tell you that the Dragon is gone. RJ left us today at 2:45 PM. He fought a valiant fight against this most horrid disease. In the end, he left peacefully and in no pain. In the years he had fought this, he taught me much about living and about facing death. He never waivered in his faith, nor questioned our God's timing. I could not possibly be more proud of anyone. I am eternally grateful for the time that I had with him on this earth and look forward to our reunion, though as I told him this afternoon, not yet. I love you bubba.

    Our beloved Harriet was at his side through the entire fight and to the end. The last words from his mouth were to tell her that he loved her.

    Thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and support through this ordeal. He knew you were there. Harriet reminded him today that she was very proud of the many lives he had touched through his work. We've all felt the love that you've been sending my brother/cousin. Please keep it coming as our Harriet could use the support.

    Jason will be posting funeral arrangements.

    My sincerest thanks.

    Peace and Light be with each of you,

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    To Catalyst: Never, never lose faith. RJ did not. Harriet hasn't. I haven't. Going through what we have, our faith is only strengthened. Besides, if God didn't exist, we would have never had Jim. We did. God does. Remember my Brother/Cousin, my friend, think of him fondly and glorify God's name.

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  • 7

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    Wilson, RJ's "cousin/brother" also spoke at the funeral. He read an excerpt from "Irish Cream"

    Wilson Grooms


    From Irish Cream,
    by Father Andrew Greeley

    "The issue," said the little bishop in him homily, "is whether the tombstone or the flowers are more ultimate. It is perhaps odd that we Americans celebrate our day of the dead just when life flourishes and summer begins. Somehow we have our symbols confused. My parents called this festival Decoration Day because it is the day when we used to put flowers around the tombs. Now we put them everywhere and perhaps forget about the meaning of the festival and tombs. We honor those who died in the country's wars-millions of young men whose lives were cut short before they had a chance to flourish. All war is foolish. Some may, however foolish, also be necessary. That is not for us to decide today. We must rather consider those long rows of white crosses-and Stars of David-and think of how much those young men might have contributed to the life of our country if they had been given a chance. We must also think of the parents, the wives, the sweethearts of those who are buried in the military cemeteries and how much their lives were blighted by early and sudden death.

    "It might be said that they died for their country. It is more likely that they died because they were drafted and had no choice. They may also have died because political leaders or military leaders made tragic mistakes. We must not use this day of the dead to glorify war but rather to sorrow for those who died and for those who lost them.

    "We must also ask God, with all due respect, why he permitted all these young lives to be cut short with such tragic results. We don't expect an answer but we must ask the question. Indeed he expects us to ask the question and not to lose sight of the tragedy.

    "Yet we put flowers on the tombs and we surround our homes with flowers. Hence the question: Which is more ultimate, the flower or the tomb? Death, which the white cross represents, or life, which the flower represents? Do we just make the tomb pretty or do we defy it?

    "I put it to you that we defy the tomb. We do not pretend that there is no tragedy in all these deaths. We do not turn away from the stupidity, the futility, the ugliness of death, of any and every death. Because of our faith we seek to transcend it. Love is as strong as death, the Song of Songs tells us. It is a kind of draw between the two. If, however, love cannot prevent death, so death cannot prevent love and thus in the end love wins. Consider the lilacs here on the lawn: they ought to have been wiped out long ago by the wind and the snow. Yet they reappear every year at this time to remind us that there is beauty in the cosmos. If there is beauty then there is Beauty with a capital B. And if there is Beauty, death is not quite the end. There is yet more to be said. Beyond that today we cannot go and we need not go. All the beauty of this wonderful day once again defies death and we join in that defiance. Life is too important ever to be anything but life."

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  • 8

    Interview: Dec 10th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    I have photos of family around me in my office. They are a gentle reminder that we work to have a life, not the other way around. In one of those photos, Jim and I are shoulder-to-shoulder, our heads leaning in and touching at the temples. A private moment captured by my Janet. At the end of a busy day in mid-October, I was heading towards the door, glanced at the photo and thought, "I haven't called him in days. I need to do it on the way home..." Then it hit me. I can't call him. He won't answer. The stages of grieving are something with which I am all too familiar. I knew what to expect: loss, denial, guilt, anger and finally acceptance. Even so, it is a trip we each must take every time we suffer a loss. And there I stood, staring at the photo, weeping for my loss and feeling guilty for forgetting, if just for a moment.

    Thank you for your prayers, your well-wishing, your concerns about our family and especially for the mountains of praise you have heaped upon my Brother/Cousin. Thank you for every note. I have read all of them, all. They have offered more comfort than you could ever imagine. We are healing.

    Here in this forum, I want to publicly thank Jason. He has been and continues to be a loyal fan and friend. Through his words and pictures you have been allowed a peek into the world that was my Brother/Cousin's. Jason told you he came to Charleston feeling a bit of anxiety. It didn't show. He blended into our family fabric as if he had always been there. Still he was there as your representative. The questions he asked were those you would have asked. The things he wanted to see were what you would have wanted to see. He touched, smelled and tasted life in the Two Rivers. With Jason's words and photos, I pray that you were able to gain a sense of closure.

    Plans are well underway to erect a permanent memorial detailing the life and accomplishments of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., aka Robert Jordan. The site could not be more perfect, the library at the Citadel in Charleston. Items that you would easily recognize will be included in the exhibit: his ram's horn cane, his Citadel ring and one of his broad-brimmed black hats to name a few. The exhibit will be dedicated in the spring of 2008.

    By now you are all aware of the grand news that Brandon Sanderson will be working closely with Harriet and Jim's staff to write A Memory of Light. Brandon has proven himself in the genre. Harriet, hand picked him for the task. I hope you are as pleased and excited as we that he accepted the challenge. As you will learn in Jason's interview, Brandon has long been a WOT fan. Now he has the privilege of donning the gleeman's cloak and telling us the ending of the tale. I am sure that he will do Jim's epic proud.

    Remember my Brother/Cousin in the old familiar way. I miss you Bubba. Now, as Harriet has told us, Onward.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

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  • 9

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    On 8 March 2008, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was inducted as the 47th member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) Hall of Fame. The setting was perfect, The Citadel, The Military College of S.C. The man most of you only knew by his nom de plume, Robert Jordan was a graduate of the Citadel and adored his alma mater. Jim would have loved the attention and been embarrassed by it. You see, he wrote not for acclaim. He wrote because that's what he loved to do. But every one of us likes a pat on the back and a "well done" from time to time. This ceremony was exactly that, a public affirmation of what we fans of Robert Jordan already know. Jim, aka Robert Jordan, has taken the world of fantasy to a level that was only a dream before. The long narrative is possible because of Jim. A writer in his genre was quoted recently for having said that we owe the likes of Harry Potter to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Jim did not live to hear that line, he did however know that the SC Authors had named him to the Hall. He was informed of it at the beginning of September 2007. Jim's response, "I'll be there", for the ceremony. He lost his fight only two weeks later, but he left knowing that he'd had that pat on the back from his peers. For that, I am eternally grateful. Well done, bubba.

    The evening was a celebration of Jim the man and RJ the writer. Mike Livingston, a Professor of English at the Citadel was asked to speak about Robert Jordan. He began with the first three lines from Beowulf. He detailed how fantasy has always been an important art, inspiring us all to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, to aspire for greatness and not settle for mediocrity. He wove a brilliant tapestry of fantasy through the ages landing upon our own Jim. R.J.'s impact on the genre will be felt for as long as man pens fantasy.

    Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina, was asked to speak of the man, Jim Rigney. She told of his mentoring of promising students. She recalled how he had seemed even more excited than she when she was named Poet Laureate. She talked at length of his generosity of education and his community. She remembered fondly his story telling, his singing and his most thunderous laughter. Marjory counted herself blessed for having had Jim as a friend.

    The official words inducting Jim into the Hall were pronounced by D. Oliver Bowman, Chair of the 2008 SCAA Induction Committee. Our Harriet was radiant, a smile ever present. She worked her way through the crowd of over 150 making sure that she spoke with everyone. A special treat for her and all of us gathered were the "1st Graders", a group of 14 ladies with whom Harriet had begun school, that's right, in the 1st grade. There were 8 of them in attendance. They gather at least monthly to chat over lunch or tea. By way of acknowledging them, Harriet gave a Robert Jordanish, "Hoot Hoot", which brought laughter and an encore call. So, she did it again.

    Linda Ferguson and Ellen Hyatt, SCAA board members, presented Harriet with a Memorial Gift, a clock. All felt it most appropriate for the Creator of the Wheel of Time.

    The mood of the evening was light. Still as people talked of my Brother/Cousin, I was transported back to that horrible time in September. Perhaps the wound is like that in Rand's side, it may never heal. I do hope that it does, for I am sure that Jim would rather I remember the laughter, not the pain. That goes for all of us really. This night in Charleston, the Two Rivers made terra firma, the people gathered under the large oaks of Stedding Citadel, to sing the songs of praise to one of our own, James Oliver Rigney, Jr., who though passed will live in our hearts forever.

    Wilson...

    Brother/Cousin of the warrior god...

    4th of 3

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  • 10

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    Family, friends and fans of fantasy gathered at The Citadel on Tuesday 8 April 2008 to dedicate a permanent memorial to my brother/cousin, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. This was a celebration of Jim's life and his work. I would be lying were I to tell you I was looking forward to the event. We had assembled only a few weeks earlier at the Citadel to induct Jim into the South Carolina Author's Hall of Fame. That evening had propelled me back to the awful moments in September when we lost Jim. Both Harriet and I were in dread of the same happening yet again. It didn't. Rather the opposite.

    Harriet had told us all, Onward, still she and I (and I'm sure the rest of the family) were mired in that part of grieving that causes us to hang on, denial. Only a day before, Harriet had rolled up her sleeves and dove headlong into the first chapter of A Memory of Light. She, Jim's loyal staff and Brandon were hard at work on the book. She called me to share that and her excitement was obvious. She sounded like a new woman. Harriet told me that she finally knew that Jim wasn't coming back. That doesn't mean that she doesn't still hurt. The hurt will never totally subside, but now it doesn't interfere with going "onward". Indeed it helps to maintain purpose and focus.

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  • 11

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    I teased you before with A Memory of Light. You all know the timing, and that hasn't changed. But as I listened in on the exchange between Harriet, Maria (a walking dictionary of the books), Alan and Brandon, I couldn't help but get even more excited. You all know that Jim told me in great detail, the bones of the book and very vividly described the last scene. Still, listening to the team working collectively on the minute details, hearing the excitement in their voices, feeling the electricity in the room made me want to stay till we were done. I lingered for a moment before leaving watching them sitting around the dining room table where we had shared so many meals, stories and good times. As with most families, our family members have assumed places at the table where we normally sit. I smiled when it struck me that sitting in Jim's place was the man tapped to finish Jim's work, Brandon. I'm sure Jim was smiling too. Onward!

    Wilson

    Brother/Cousin

    4th of 3

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  • 12

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Brandonís final comments on the panel, he tells two stories about visiting the Rigney home. One of them involves two chairs and two computers during his first visit, and the other involves a gift from Jim's cousin Wilson while Brandon was down in Charleston again to work out some plot holes in the outline. [Brandon mentioned wanting to tell at least one of these stories himself on his blog, so Iíll leave those to him.]

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  • 13

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    Friday was a beautiful day in the Two Rivers. There was a gentle breeze blowing inland and the sky was crystal. Perfect. Unlike the services a year ago, the laying of the ledger stone on Jim's grave was a quiet family affair. So, with apologies, I won't share the details. Jim's resting place is identified with a marker that will last for a few hundred years. I found myself thinking that his work will outlive even the marble on his grave. The stone is simple in form. It is etched with a few words which perfectly describe the gentle giant of a man that he was.....

    James Oliver Rigney, Jr.

    Born October 17, 1948
    Died September 16, 2007

    Father Story Teller
    Soldier Singer

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  • 14

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Finally, I want to mention something that is cool beyond description. When I was out in Charleston last time, Robert Jordan's cousin (who was as close to him as a brother) walked in. Many of you may know Wilson from his blog posts over at Dragonmount, speaking about Mr. Jordan and the Wheel of Time. Well, he was out at Harriet's this time, and I had the privilege of meeting him. (And we use that phrase like a cliche, but I think case, I mean it sincerely. Meeting Wilson WAS a privilege. He is an engaging, interesting person with genuine sense of nobility about him.) Anyway, near the end of my stay, he told me that he felt I should have something of Mr. Jordan's and told me to go out into the armory and pick out a pieceóany pieceóthat I wanted, and he'd ship it to me.

    I'm certain you can imagine just how I felt at getting this honor. If you aren't aware, Mr. Jordan's armory was enormous. He collected the weapons as research for how to write descriptions and usage in his books. They were part of the process, part of what made the Wheel of Time turn out like it did. I think his attention to detail on these kinds of things is part of what made the books so great.

    I'm going to wait to post about the sword I chose, since I'm having it cleaned and mounted, and would rather show final pictures of it. However, Wilson has put up some other pieces of the armory on ebay for sale. I wanted to alert you all of this fact, as I think some of you might be interested in the pieces. Also, here's Wilson's blog post about the armory, if you haven't seen it.

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  • 15

    Interview: Jan 26th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    First off, I've been getting a lot of email regarding the sword that Wilson gave me out of Robert Jordan's collection. For Christmas, I asked my wife to have it cleaned and mounted, and so I wanted to wait until then to post pictures. That's not all finished yet, but I figured I've waited long enough, so I took a photo for you to show how it stands right now, stylishly presented in the mounting stand my wife purchased. (With our Kick The Cheat in the background . . . )

    Some close up shots for you:

    Eventually, I want to get the mounting piece inscribed. We're thinking of having the words hand painted on there.

    When I saw that one sword in the collection had a gold and red dragon hand-painted on the scabbard . . . yeah, I knew that was the piece I had to take. More pictures eventually.

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  • 16

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2009

    Wilson Grooms

    Update: Some additional comments from Wilson:

    I was a Jordan fan before he was Jordan. The Warrior God was my childhood idol, the big brother I didn't have. Love is too weak a word to describe my feelings for Jim. I would do anything for him and would defend him with my life. That includes defending his work. Saying that, I could not be more pleased with the work done by Team Jordan: Harriet, Brandon, Maria and Alan. The Gathering Storm masterfully continues Jim's story in a manner that would be pleasing to the creator himself. There are countless "oh my!" moments. The pace is staggering. I fear that there will be many WOT fans who will lose sleep on the 27th because they just won't be able to find a stopping point.

    I said before on this blog, that I loved Jim for bringing Harriet into my life. A grander lady there is not. Still what she has done in orchestrating and beautifully completing Jim's work has raised her stock even more. Love you sis. The Warrior Angel is surely smiling.

    Congratulations to Team Jordan. Can't wait till next year.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

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  • 17

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Wilson Grooms

    Near the end of the ceremony, Wilson Grooms (Jordan's cousin-more-like-brother) presented Harriet with a gorgeous work of art done by the wonderful Seamas Gallagher. The art was done for this article (and can be seen in it, down low and to the right), and in the print version, it was the entire front of the paper. Yes, that is RJ handing the Dragon Banner to Brandon Sanderson (perhaps a younger Sanderson, but still).

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  • 18

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Wilson Grooms

    I got off registration and dodged getting drafted for crowd control at the Brandon Sanderson signing so I could get mall—Japanese for lunch—my only meal of the day, I might add. I then hurried back and had my interview with Wilson, where he did two things he professed hating to do: talk about his cousin and do so at length. Actually, he hates neither of those things. The interview was fun.

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  • 19

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    So, after we finally forced ourselves up, I had the wonderful and great treat of striking up conversation with Alan, a kindred computer wrangler. We then went to the bar (gratefully of the OPEN variety) and had drinks, and additionally were joined by Wilson. That was in general a wonderful conversation that covered many many many things, from all topics in life and WoT. I will tell you one thing though. What eventually came from the discussion and later into "the know", we have deduced and decided the proper way for Asha'man pins to be worn. The sword is on the left collar, with the blade pointed towards your chin (and thus the curve of the blade opening up.) The dragon is on the right collar, facing your chin as well.

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  • 20

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    After the travesty skit was over, I attended the panel "An Hour With the Rigneys", which was Harriet, Wilson, Tom, Alan, and Maria talking about Robert Jordan aka Jim Rigney, trading anecdotes about what it was like to live and work with him (consensus: completely awesome).

    Before the panel started Wilson had come up to me to introduce himself and tell me how much he liked the blog (he'd commented on it before, even), and then surprised me by telling me that he had actually hunted up the story on my LiveJournal about the time I had met Harriet and Jim in California, which I had dubbed the Great Purple California Trip of 2004, and posted after I heard of his passing. Wilson had given it to Harriet to read (since she didnít remember it herself). Overhearing this, Harriet laughingly chimed in to confirm this, and to claim that Jim had never owned a purple suit and she had no idea what I was talking about in my story.

    I told her I could be wrong, and would check with my sister Liz, but I could swear that's what color he had been wearing that day. And lo, I just got off the phone with my sister and she says... she can't really remember.

    DAMMIT. I still proclaim my rightness on this! It could have been burgundy! Or, or eggplant.

    Purplish-brown? Maybe?

    ("I remember the hat!" Liz says. Heh.)

    Oh well. The panel was lovely, full of warm and often funny remembrances of Mr. Rigney, and it was clear throughout how much his family life and his professional life were meshed together, in a way that very few people get to do, I think, and how much this was to the mutual benefit and enjoyment of everyone involved. Wilson in particular had many hilarious and touching stories about his "cousin-brother", whom he obviously adored and admired greatly. It was so cool to hear about things like the Office of Extreme Danger (as Jason put it, "if you sneezed in there you would end up in the hospital, because six hundred pointy things would fall on you"), and Mr. Rigney's failed scheme to save Harriet's goldfish pond from a predatory heron (it turns out that herons are not afraid of crocodile urine), and many other sweet and funny stories.

    (You may have noticed I've been wavering back and forth between "Jim" and "Mr. Rigney", because everyone was calling him "Jim", and it's definitely a lot faster to type, but I was raised in the South, yo, and have a lingering uncomfortableness with calling a man I only met once by his first name. Ergo, waver. I don't have a point here, I'm just, er, pointing it out.)

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  • 21

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    You are often referred to as Robert Jordan's biggest fan. What were conversations with him like, and did he ever bounce ideas for his writing off of you?

    Wilson Grooms

    Obviously, our conversations started a long, long, long time before The Wheel of Time. The ideas of The Wheel of Time, yeah, he bounced those off me while he was writing other stuff, because this is what he was thinking about.

    Something I haven't told you before, early on, when he was writing the Conan stuff—which I read because it is Jim's work and I like Jim—it wasn't my bailiwick. The Conan stuff was written for a particular demographic and he kept asking me, "What do you think? What do you think?" I would never give in. So, finally, in response to the nitpicking "What do you think", I started a narrative that sounded like a prologue leading into one of the Conan books, any one of them. Generic, but it was one of the Conan books. He just paused, and I looked at him and said, "What?" He said, "Predictable, right?" And I said, "I didn't say a thing, Jim."

    So yes, he'd bounce ideas off me and would say, "You need to get away from this, soon as you can." And the seven of them he wrote were great, but they were what they were. He talked about what he was going to do, and he noodled it around in his head for about ten years before he wrote it. After The Wheel of Time started being written, it was his work, so I didn't talk to him much about it, or he didn't talk to me much about it. If he was thinking about something or an idea, he might bounce it off of me, but because we lived four hours apart and were together less frequently, when we were together it was, "Let's go do something else." Let's go to dinner, or let's go fishing, which he just absolutely loved to do. I liked fishing, he loved fishing, so I'd go fishing because it was time with him and time away from work and the books.

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  • 22

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    The Wheel just passed its twentieth anniversary. Any reflections on where it has come from? Do you think that, starting back then, Jim thought it would turn into this?

    Wilson Grooms

    The answer is, obviously, pretty long. I know for sure that he did not think it would turn into this. Could he see all of the storylines and plots and this and envision that it could? Yes. But it was like lightning struck, and people liked it, which allowed him to expand on the story that he already had rattling around in his head. Had it not been that successful, he could have probably done the storyline in . . . three? Which is what he was kind of thinking at the beginning. Certainly not more than six. And it would have then been off to the next thing, which of course he already had in his head and was pretty close to ready to put pen to paper on. But, it took off, and it allowed him to tell that story in a greater detail.

    One of the greater things that I hear from people about what they like in the books is the detail. And yeah, OK, I've heard about the middle books dragging on, but I can tell you, even that, for him it was about making sure that people understood the detail well enough so that when other things come along down the line, they could go, "Aha! This is that!" Because, he could see it; he could see the tapestry and how it was sewn together. You can't describe the whole tapestry at one time. You've got to describe it thread by thread by thread until you back up and see it. And that is what he was doing.

    But no, never in his wildest dreams did he think it would be this successful and that it would turn into that many books. As evidence of that, this is not what he was going to be putting his name on. He thought he'd be putting "James Oliver Rigney Jr." on a further work down the road and that this was a stepping stone towards that. Little did he know that the lightning would strike and this would become the great work.

    But by putting the pen name, Robert Jordan, on these covers, it also afforded him some anonymity when the books started becoming a hit. As much as Jim loved the adoration and interaction with the fans, he's just Bubba. He's a private guy and was never more comfortable than when he was right there at home. The working office is just ten paces behind the back step of the house, and that was his world. He loved having people come to the home, but not so much going to them, because that is where he wanted to be. Writing with the pen name allowed him that anonymity to just be Jim Rigney at home, and some of the neighbors would say, "I think that he writes. I'm not sure, but I think he does."

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  • 23

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    I've heard that when he entertained guests he would take them out back and beat them up with swords while thinking about ideas and fights.

    Wilson Grooms

    There was once, well, OK. Since his death we've shared his collection with some of the fans, because the collection of blades was enormous. And as we were considering doing this, my daughter Marisa, who is in her thirties now and whom I didn't know knew anything about blades at all, said, "Certainly you're not getting rid of the claymore!" And I said, "You know what a claymore is?"

    So, think back to the movie Braveheart. We had gone down, the whole family was gathering for a fishing trip with the girls. Big deal, we are taking the whole family out, and the weather got in the way. Braveheart had just come out at the store, and we sat at home and watched it, the whole clan of us. She was in her mid-teens at the time, and right after the movie, he takes her out to the armory, which is the anteroom to this writing office, and shows her how to use the claymore, and does the sword-forms with her. And there's this massive, five-and-a-half foot long double handed broadsword in my daughter's hands, and he teaches her how to use it. And when I hear this, I said, "Bubba, you did what with my little girl? You taught her how to use the damn claymore!"

    There were times that he would discuss sword-forms—and this is where you asked if I discussed the books with him—and both of us had a military background. He would get the blades and things, so he could touch and feel; it was part of his research. Look at a katana, there is a strong resemblance to some of the swords in the story. The influence is there. Some of the smaller swords have a resemblance to kukris or krises, of which he had numerous. But, as much as he would read about how to use them, he would then practice the forms. He would dance those forms, and there were times that I'd be with him, and he would say, "Do you think it would go this way or this way?" We are talking about a rather hulking guy in a very small confine, waving a blade very near my face. So, I was thinking, "Yeah, Bubba, but back off a little. That looks good, but don't trip. It would be hard to explain to the insurance company."

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  • 24

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    When did you first realize that he was ill?

    Wilson Grooms

    The first real indication that something was going on manifested itself in October 2005. He was on the last signing tour in Philly and took a day of private time and visited with my family at West Point, where my youngest son was a freshman. We did a backyard barbeque at a buddy's house who was stationed there at the time and Jim inhaled the biggest steak you've ever seen in your life. It was a good day. And, sidenote, when Harriet and Jim left, a buddy of mine who I graduated with back in 1974, who was at that time the parish priest at West Point, said, "Oh man, Will, I'm glad they're gone." And I said, "Why?" He said, "Those are the smartest people I've ever been around. It's hard to talk to them." He was laughing, and he said, "They stretch you, don't they?" I said, "Yeah, they do."

    Anyway, West Point is located in an area of New York, the central Hudson valley, that is all hills. And him walking around, he'd have to stop occasionally and lean against something, or lean down on his knees and catch his breath. And he'd get dizzy, and see spots. We realized that he needed to get this checked out. It was within a week or so after getting back from the tour that he called me and said, "They know what it is." And I was thinking it was something not as catastrophic as it turned out to be. You know, maybe he's not eating well, not enough sleep, something. So I say, "OK, what is it?" And matter-of-factly, he says "It's amyloidosis, and it's fatal, and I intend to beat it." Just that way.

    He thought he had seen it then, but in fact he had seen it years earlier when we were doing a walk in the Charleston area, across the Cooper River Bridge that they do annually. I reminded him that, on that walk, he had some breath issues. He thought about it a moment and said, "Ah, you're right." And the moral of that was that amyloidosis, which is now on everyone's radar, is because of Jim, and the work Harriet has done since losing Jim. The V.A. now recognizes it, it is service related, so servicemen can be checked. It is being taught to doctors early on, so when they are looking at patients and they are talking about this or that symptom, and they see something that looks like a common cold, it may not be a common cold. It may well be the onset of amyloidosis, and if it is caught then, it is treatable.

    So Jim told us then, "I intend to beat it." He didn't know that he would personally succumb to it, but in fact, through his efforts and through his notoriety, he is going to beat it.

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  • 25

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    Wow. I've heard that story a few times now, and it still gives me chills. So, on a lighter topic, tell me exactly how Asha'man pins are worn. (Note: I'm currently wearing mine with the sword on my left, the dragon on my right).

    Wilson Grooms

    I thought you were wearing them correctly, but from my recollection of our military stuff Jim would never put a blade toward the neck. That is because we learned how to handle blades safely. They are a weapon and a tool, but not something to be feared because you have to handle them, but you have to know how to handle them. A blade was never drawn unless you intended to do something with it, either working with it as a tool or to do someone harm. So the symbolism of putting the blade toward the throat, I think, would have been contrary to what he was like.

    But it was never really discussed in the books. They were on the collars. I say go with what feels right. If the dragon closer to your heart feels right, then wear it closer to your heart. If the sword feels closer to your heart, then go that way. But, he never said, but I would point the blade away from the neck.

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  • 26

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    I hereby forbid you from using the letters R-A-F-O. Let's talk about Asmodean.

    Wilson Grooms

    OK, what about Asmodean?

    Richard Fife

    Who killed him?

    Wilson Grooms

    OK, I know, but not because I figured it out. It's because I flat out asked. I did, I just went up, and I'm just like you guys. I said, "I just can't figure it out, let me know." He said, "You could, if you just read it closer." I said, "No time, Bubba, who killed him?" And he went, "[censored]". And I went, "Yeah, makes sense." And by the way, I asked Maria later on if that was correct, and Maria confirmed that it was correct and told me why.

    I understand that it was one of those plotlines that he always wanted to have tied off, and if people couldn't figure it out, it would be figured out for them. Around the dining room table, when we were first discussing what has got to be done and what not, that was one of the ones he wanted done. So yes, it will be there; you'll get your answer.

    The reason it hasn't been there up to this point is because somebody figured it out. At a book signing, a fan said to him quietly, "This is who did it, and this is why." And he was right. And it wasn't a question with an exclamation point on it, and he said, "You got it. Spot on." And he reasoned that if one person could get it from the text, then anybody could get it from the text. And one of the great things about Bubba is that he always wanted people to think. He liked to tell you stories and he might want to give some benefit of his experience in the reading, but he was very, very interested in what you thought and that you were thinking. So, he didn't want to give that away until the very end.

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  • 27

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    That was the longest RAFO I've ever been given. OK, so last question. So you know the ending now, straight from the bard's mouth.

    Wilson Grooms

    I do.

    Richard Fife

    Do you recognize it from those first musings twenty-plus years ago?

    Wilson Grooms

    As with a lot of things in the books, it had morphed some. So, a couple weeks before he died, he explained it to me in excruciating detail 'cause the two of us can talk for a while. There was extreme detail on the last scene: who was standing and who was not. What was going on. Who was casting glances at who. And where there was laughter. You are . . . OK, there's enough hints. And who was casting a suspicious eye at someone when they were riding away. But other than that . . . hehe, yeah. But it had morphed and changed somewhat. He knew the ending, but there was some beautiful additions, it had . . . I don't know.

    Richard Fife

    Matured?

    Wilson Grooms

    Yeah, matured. That is a very good term for it. It was not simplistic. And the reason Harriet said to do this is, well, did you sit in on the session yesterday with Larry? [about the expanded universe]

    Richard Fife

    No, I'm afraid I missed it.

    Wilson Grooms

    Alright, well, there was discussion of the outrigger novels by Jason Denzel and he handled that very beautifully. I wasn't on the panel, but I added this, and I'll give it to you too. The big reason that there are these three books, the three books to finish the main sequence, is that a couple weeks before Jim died he asked me who he thought could finish the books.

    Now, all along, while he was talking about this piece of work, as we were fishing, one of the things he would say, and other people in the family had heard it too, was, "If I die, and somebody tries to finish this, you will kill them. And if you don't, I will come back and haunt you and them. Because this is my work, and nobody is going to finish it but me. And if I go too soon, that's it." And we'd do that in laughter, but he was serious. This is his work.

    So when he asks me, two weeks before he died, "Who do you think could finish it?," it set me back on my heels. Now, with that he told us that he wanted the work finished, really wanted it finished. So even though Harriet was devastated by the loss, we all were, we felt obliged to finish this work for him. That doesn't mean there will be outriggers or what-have-you. There may be. But the big thing here is now about Harriet, and if at the end of this, if she is still having fun, who knows where it goes.

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  • 28

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    Addendum: After the interview, Wilson and I went and talked with a few other people, and one of them was wearing a shirt that had the Asha'man pins screen printed on it. The discussion came back up, and I suggested that the sword towards the throat might have been meant as a reminder of the life-and-death struggle of saidin, and Wilson said he liked that idea, but would still personally keep the sword facing away.

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  • 29

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    This question has to do with a conversation I had with Wilson.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh okay, is this going to be? Okay, I think I know what this is going to be.

    Richard Fife

    At last JordanCon I was talking with Wilson, and he was telling me about the night that Robert Jordan told him the end of the book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh huh.

    Richard Fife

    And he says that it started off with the word... they were talking about whatever, and it started off with Robert Jordan getting really quiet and then leaning in and saying, "There is a ______ in the Blight." To which that completely blindsides Wilson. He says, "There's a what?!?" And Robert Jordan then says, "There's a ______ in the Blight and not even Harriet knows about it." And then went on for two hours describing about how this was important and pivotal and yet takes place...be really important for the end of the book. Any further hints?

    Brandon Sanderson

    And see, Wilson can get away with stuff that I can't. And that is a story I've been told by three different people now. In fact, the first day I was there in Charleston, Harriet told it to me. Then Maria told it to me. And then I met Wilson later and he told it to me. Because that was the day when they suddenly said, "We need a tape recorder. Someone get a tape recorder." And I think Maria, like, went to the store to get one and came back with... But then, that was the session where he started for the first time dictating what was to happen and things like this. I do know that story. It's great for you to share it with everyone. I would not have shared that story because I have to be extra careful not to cross any lines. And so...you will get hints about whatever that was in the next book.

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  • 30

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    Eleanor

    Do we have any clues to guess what the ____ in the Blight is?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    ELEANOR

    Asked if there was anything else he could give us on this one and he said he could not be more descriptive. Perhaps if someone was more pointed/specific?

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  • 31

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Matt Hatch

    How do you think Jim's experience of childhood in Charleston compared to your own?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, Jim grew up real poor, and we were not, and I didn't...I mean I grew up in the house I live in now, which is in the best part of town—BIG—I've forgotten whether you were there for the (TarValon.net anniversary visit to Charleston)—

    Matt Hatch

    I...I haven't. I am coming!

    Harriet McDougal

    Well anyway, and it was...mother did a lot of yardwork, but she was a snob about food. My best friend lived down the street, and in that house, there was post-WWII margarine, which the dairy people, they controlled it, and it was white stuff in a bag with a yellow pill, and you'd have to mash it through the plastic to make it go yellow, you remember that horrible stuff?

    Matt Hatch

    Interesting...

    Teri Hatch

    I remember hearing about it.

    Harriet McDougal

    Oh, it was...yeah, awful. Mother wouldn't have it in the house, and the only bread she would have in the house was Pepperidge Farm. She really ate and cooked and all of that, and Wilson was saying the other day, he remembered sitting at Jim's mother's table, and supper was mayonnaise sandwiches.

    Matt Hatch

    (laughs) I loved mayonnaise sandwiches.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, but mother didn't do that. I lived, really, a live of privilege as a child. Jim's life was not. His father came back from the War, and when they married, his father got a job on the police force, and also painted houses on the weekend to make extra money, so it was pretty hard scrabble. And they then built a house with their own hands outside of town, and unfortunately put chlordane down in the cellar, in the foundation to kill bugs—nobody said it was not such a good thing to do—so it's possible Mr. Rigney's health problems might have had something to do with that. But I think Jim had a happy childhood.

    Matt Hatch

    Did your mother know Jim?

    Harriet McDougal

    No; neither of my parents ever met him.

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  • 32

    Interview: Apr, 2012

    JordanCon 2012 - Terez (Paraphrased)

    Austin Moore ()

    So I've been wondering, and I think many others have as well, will we know for 100% sure what Rand's fate is at the end of A Memory of Light?

    Wilson Grooms

    Oh yes. There will be NO doubt in anyone's mind what Rands fate will be at the end. It will sure to surprise and amaze people. When Jim (RJ) told me how the series ended I just shook my head and said, "Bubba, that is just beautiful. Just beautiful." So yes, you will all know.

    Austin Moore

    Ok, I was afraid that might get a read and find out type answer so thanks for assuring us that Rand's fate will not be open-ended for interpretation.

    Wilson Grooms

    Yep, there will be a definite confirmation by the end of what happens to him.

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  • 33

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Did Brandon insert a character in the story based on himself?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. He did however mention two items, one for Robert Jordan, one for him. In the ter'angreal cache found in Ebou Dar, there is a man with a beard statue. The power of the item is to be like an easily movable library. [MY NOTE: We see this in A Memory of Light.] This was Robert Jordan. Brandon then told the story of how he got his sword, with the dragon scabbard, while in Mr. Jordan's home in South Carolina, and meeting with Wilson. That sword appears in the book, and is the one which Rand gives to Tam in A Memory of Light. So Brandon's sword is in the book, but not Brandon himself.

    Footnote

    RJ referred to his appearance in the form of the bearded man ter'angreal as his "Alfred Hitchcock moment". Aviendha first discovered the use of the bearded man ter'angreal in Knife of Dreams 15. Brandon's sword appears in A Memory of Light 15.

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  • 34

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Did you insert a character based on yourself in the books like you did with fans?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let me answer that in reverse. The whole fan name thing, where it came from is, I wrote the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I got several notes from Maria that said, "You know, a lot of your names don't feel right. They don't feel like Wheel of Time names." And it was one of the areas that, fans noticed it too when the book came out. I named people like I name people, and so for Towers of Midnight, I felt, "I need to radically change the way I name. I need to use Robert Jordan's methods." So while talking to Maria and Harriet, Harriet told me this wonderful story where...you think he named someone after...(to Harriet)...a washing machine, was it? You remember you said, like there's a little name on one of the washing machines...was it you?

    Harriet McDougal

    The stove.

    Maria Simons

    The stove is a Jenn Air, and every time I looked at it, I would think of the Jenn Aiel. [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    And at one point I was taking allergy medicine, and whoever considered Corianin's surname—Seldane?

    Brandon Sanderson

    And there's an Ogier St. in Charleston. And beyond that, Robert Jordan was naming a lot of characters in the books off of mythological figures, with some twists. And so I felt—I actually said, "I'm going to grab a phone book, and I'm just going to go looking for names and try and tweak those names to start naming in the Wheel of Time." And when I did that, I stopped and thought, "Wait a minute. I had a list of names; it's in the list of the names of the fans who were part of this one charity drive we did." So I just started grabbing their names; that's as random as the phone book for me, and that's where the naming [characters] after fans thing came from. It was me forcing myself to try and do something different in the way that I'd been naming.

    Now, back to the original question, did I name anything after myself: Actually, there's a cameo by Robert Jordan in the books, of Robert Jordan. Do you guys know what it is? If you know, raise your hands. If you don't know...most of you do know? No, most of you don't know. There is a statue of Robert Jordan in the books. It is discovered among the ter'angreal that were originally in Rhuidean, right? Rhuidean? No, Ebou Dar; that's right, it's the Ebou Dar cache. See, that's why I looked at Maria, and I'm like, "Where did they come from?" And there's a man that has the contents of many stories contained, and that was described to look like Robert Jordan.

    I gave myself a similar cameo to that, in that, one of the times when I was visiting Charleston, Wilson—who was Robert Jordan's cousin, and they were very dear friends, like siblings—was taking Robert Jordan's weapons collection, and figuring out what to do with, and he had so many weapons. [laughter] It was really awesome to go walking through his workshop, so to speak—where he'd work—and see all these weapons, and see all of the different versions of the ashandarei that he had, and you can just imagine him swinging them about and deciding how he was going to do this, and describing certain weapons. He had everything, and so he'd use it. And Wilson was doing this, and he said to me, "Brandon, go out there and pick one, anything you want. Go grab one." And so, I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that, stunned though I was, and I went out there and I found at the very back a katana with a scabbard that had a red-and-gold dragon on it, twisting around the scabbard. And I don't know if the idea for Rand's dragons came first, and then he bought the scabbard and the sword because it looked like that, or if that was part of the inspiration. I suspect it was the former, that he saw that and thought, "Wow, that's just like the..."

    But either way, I picked that one, and then I wrote that sword into the books, which you will find if you look around; that sword is mentioned. So that's my cameo, is I put my sword in. It now hangs on my wall, inside a case—my wife had it, got a case and a little plaque that says "Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time," underneath. And it hangs on my wall with Robert Jordan's birthdate underneath it.

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  • 35

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Petra Mayer

    One of the things that I like about the Wheel of Time series is the unbelievably detailed worldbuilding that...I mean, coming into that, it was already eleven books along when you picked it up? My God, what did that feel like? How did you step into those shoes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, boy. So, the story is, I was a fan of the series—I picked the first one up when I was fifteen, and that was in 1990—and I'd been reading them all along; they are part of what inspired me to become a writer. I eventually broke into publishing myself in 2005, and two years later, Robert Jordan passed away without having finished the end of this series that I'd been following all along. And, like a lot of fans, I was heartbroken. I mean, we'd [inaudible] almost twenty years of following these characters. And one day, I got a call on the phone. I had not applied for this; I didn't know I was being considered. It was his wife. I didn't know her, but she had read my book—she had read my book Mistborn—and she had heard that I was a fan of the series, and had looked into some of the things I'd written, and then she just said, "Would you like to finish it?"

    Now, this is a major best-selling series; I'm a newbie author with a couple of books out. It was like getting hit by a freight train. And there's all this continuity and all these characters....it was a massive undertaking. I was scared out of my wits, to be perfectly honest, but honestly, I almost said no because of that, but there was that piece of me—the fan—that said, "Look, if you say no to this, and someone else comes along, and they do a bad job, it's going to be your fault, Brandon." So my own conscience was like, "I gotta do this. If Robert Jordan can't do it, they're going to have somebody do it. I've gotta do it." So I threw myself into it, and you know, the most interesting thing is, how have I done it? Well, I've had great resources, and part of those are fan resources. What the internet allows us to do with Wikis and things like this is, the fans have gotten together and created these detailed outlines and chronologies and all of these things, which have just been wonderful. You don't expect that, you know, but the fans do a better job than we do, as writers, sometimes, of keeping track of all of these things, so I've relied on their resources.

    I do think I've been able to do some fun things with the series, as a fan, that I've been wanting to do, from reading it since I was a kid, but that's actually a weird things because, as a fan coming on, I had to be careful. You don't always want to do what the inner fan wants you to do; otherwise it just becomes like a sequence of cameos and inside jokes. So I had to be very careful, but there are some things that I've been wanting to have happen, and the notes left a lot of room for me to explore. I did get to have a lot of creative involvement in it; it wasn't just an outline, which has been awesome. You know, if it had been mostly done, they would have been able to hire like a ghostwriter to clean it up, and they didn't have that. They needed an actual writer, and so there are lots of plots I got to construct, and as a fan, that's awesome.

    But he did write the last chapter. He wrote it before he passed away. He was very dedicated to his fans—there's great stories—he was on his deathbed dictating, and I have those dictations where his cousin Wilson is sitting there with a tape recorder just listening to him, and I got all these things passed on to me. It was really an interesting process. I was actually handed about two hundred pages, what would become 2500. Yeah, 2500. It's multiple volumes; it got split into three books. But, got handed two hundred pages, and in these are scenes he wrote, dictations that he did, fragments of scenes he worked on, little comments he made, Q&As with his assistants where it says, "This is what's going to happen, this is going to happen..." I just describe it like, "Imagine there's this beautiful Ming vase, and someone puts it in a paper bag and smashes it up, dumps out half the pieces, hands it to you, and says, 'Alright. Build the vase exactly as it was going to be, as it was before.' " That's kind of been my job on this.

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  • 36

    Interview: Oct 10th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    At this point, I sat down with Team Jordan. In case you don't know the members of this group it includes:

    Harriet: Robert Jordan's editor and widow. She discovered him as an aspiring writer in Charleston after moving there to raise her son from a previous marriage. (She didn't think NYC was the place to do it, and she had inherited the family home in Charleston.) She was encouraged by Robert Jordan's writing and started publishing his historical novels (she still worked for Tor, but telecommuted). Eventually they fell in love and were married. She edited all of the Wheel of Time books, as well as doing some other things. (For example, she is responsible for nearly all of the chapter titles in all of the books.)

    Maria: Maria was hired on somewhere around book seven, I believe. At first, her work seemed to be more clericalóbut over time, she impressed Robert Jordan and Harriet, and moved into a more editorial position. She'd maintain continuity for him, as well as work on his copyedits. These days, she is also in charge of making certain things like the Wheel of Time graphic novels are following the storyline and descriptions in the right way.

    Alan: Alan came on later than Maria, but has still been there for years and years by this point. He helps with office work and is the resident timeline king. He also is a military history buff, and knows warfare quite well. He became my "Great Captain" for the last books. (Though he and I did butt heads quite a bit as I pushed for more drama and he pushed for more specific descriptions of tactics.)

    Wilson: I don't know if he'd agree he was part of Team Jordan or not, but I view him as part. Wilson is Robert Jordan's cousin and close friend growing upóthe cousin that was like a brother. Jovial and welcoming, he recently dressed up in a costume of me for a costume contest. He's been a cheerleader for Jim's work for years, and every time I felt daunted by this project, it seems I'd get a little note of encouragement or help from Wilson.

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